Letter from the Director

Dr. Andrew Frank

Welcome to the Native American and Indigenous Studies Center at Florida State University. I am Andrew Frank, and I am delighted to serve as its inaugural director. I am a historian by training and have spent most of my career working with and writing about Native Southerners, Indigenous Floridians, and Florida Seminoles. I am excited to lead a community of scholars, artists, students, faculty, and community members who are committed to Native American and Indigenous research and artistic practice.

The Center works from the knowledge that the Seminole Tribe of Florida as well as several other Indigenous nations see Tallahassee and other FSU campuses as their homelands. It also acknowledges that FSU has called itself the “Seminoles” ever since it became a coeducational school in 1947. This relationship extends beyond our use of the Tribe’s name and symbols in our athletic department, and the Center exists as part of a larger commitment of the university to collaborate with the Seminole Tribe of Florida as intellectual partners. The NAIS Center is committed to collaborating with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and educating FSU about Seminole culture and history inside and outside of the classroom.

The NAIS Center seeks to tell more than the history of the Native American past or focus solely on our Seminole partners. In fact, FSU’s NAIS Center is one of only a handful of NAIS centers in the nation to exist outside of a department or college, an acknowledgement that NAIS works beyond the traditional boundaries of academic disciplines. As a result, we are committed to working with Indigenous people and communities in the American South and beyond. Our affiliated faculty works with Indigenous people across the globe, whether they are in the Gulf South, the Caribbean, New England, the Pacific Northwest, Latin America, or Southeast Asia. Our faculty also come from across the university—with multiple colleges engaged in collaborative research. As the Center grows, we hope that more faculty come to see us as an intellectual home and that we will collaborate with more Indigenous communities.

The Center, although still in its infancy, has much to be excited about/it is on its way to becoming a centerpiece for FSU and a leader in the field. It has begun collaborating with Indigenous nations and organizations in Florida and beyond, creating undergraduate and graduate certificates, offering public-facing programming for the FSU community, partnering on local and national grants, and agreeing to host international conferences for the 2023-2024 academic year. Please consider presenting your work at or attending the annual conference of the American Society for Ethnohistory this November or this spring at the Department of Religion’s "More-than-human Religion: Indigeneity, Objects, and Ecologies” conference.

Finally, I urge you to reach me at afrank@fsu.edu and to share any ideas or thoughts you have about the center. Also be sure to check back at the NAIS website and to join our listserve to hear about future events, travel grants for undergraduate and graduate students, and new research opportunities.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Dr. Andrew Frank